Background Guide: ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL

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Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

The Economic and Social Council is geared towards finding comprehensive solutions that promulgate higher standards of living that foster economic and social growth. Its initiatives are focused on international economic, social, cultural, educational, health that formulates recommendations related to the General Assembly, Members of the United Nations, and other specialized agencies concerned.

 

INTRODUCTION

The discussions regarding human mobility have been considered as one of the most prioritized political topic nationally, regionally, and internationally. The global phenomenon of migration is strongly linked with such issue involving the world of work as the usual driver as it features diverse factors such as poverty, food insecurity, unemployment, and overpopulation that result in migratory flows.

Migrant workers are people who leave their homeland due to social and economic reasons to work in countries offering various job opportunities, for the reasons of generating a stable income to support their families, contributing in their countries economic growth, and seeking for greater opportunities to achieve a higher standard of living. The number of global migrant workers is continuously increasing as economic globalization further develops.

Migrant workers provide towards the economic growth and stability of both their receiving state and their state of origin. This is by participating in the economic activities of where they work and through the remittances and/or money they send back to their state of origin. While a lot of them are successful, these people often enjoy minimum social protection, experience inequality and discrimination, or in worst case scenarios, migrant workers are left vulnerable with the possibilities of exploitation and human trafficking undermining their rights in a lot of countries. Issues concerning migrant workers have been a pervasive issue in a global sense, yet ample amount of attention did not cover this rampant problem in the international community.

 

DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS

Migrant workers may provide substantial economic contributions to both their countries of origin and destination; yet, they still face violations regarding their human rights, rendering them to be susceptible to discrimination, poverty, and to any social and cultural handicaps. The United Nations, along with the International Labour Organization and regional organizations, have given prior importance to providing protection for migrant workers. This has consequently resulted to the implementation of vital international and regional standards regarding migrant workers.

The Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (CMW) serves as an organization that not only monitors but ensures the proper execution of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families by its State parties through voluntary and independent experts; Its first session was held in March 2004.

Working conditions however, vary depending on each country’s regulations and guidelines. Some countries provide proper protection and treatment while others do not observe and rather disregard the given rights to these migrant workers.

A lot of migrant workers severely suffer in other countries especially in the parts of North Africa and the Middle East. In these countries they are exploited, abused, and are almost treated as slaves. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has called upon the cooperation of governments to introduce legal reforms in order to guarantee the safety of migrant workers and to protect them from being vulnerable to such inhumane practices. Despite the initiatives presented, millions of people still continue to migrate to other countries looking for better income opportunities.

One of the utmost priorities for National Human Rights Institutions around the globe is to uphold and safeguard the rights of migrants and migrant workers. In accordance to this, NHRI consistently convenes meetings internationally and regionally to immediately formulate solutions for rising concerns, assist each other through the sharing of good practices and cultivate individual and shared programs yielding remedies for numerous predicaments.

The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families has been established since July 2003. It contains an elaborative set of rules in order to responsively address circumstances that imperil the welfare of the migrant workers securing them with the given rights they are entitled to. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), there are approximately 244 million international migrants and only 150.3 accounts as migrant workers and most of them belong to the female population. In addition, IOM has created instruments to help migrant workers therefore creating the Migrant Workers Convention (1975) that combats illegal migration as well as taking into account the basic human rights of these migrant workers. Moreover, there are numerous operations and projects aimed to safeguard the rights of migrant workers in other countries. An example of this is the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Triangle Project implemented last 2010. It is in partnership with the Australian Governments and has been executed to countries such as: Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam. Its objective is to fortify legislation and policies, to elevate capacity building within stakeholders, and to render utmost assistance through Migrant Worker Resource Centers. Through these initiatives, over 51, 000 workers are aided ever since.          

 

ROLE OF ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL

The Economic and Social Council’s role is to ensure and follow-up international agreement goals and review its implementation, progress, and outcomes. With that, ECOSOC serves as an avenue for multilateral discussions on past actions concerning migrant workers’ rights and formulate new solutions to solve the various issues they face in a daily basis. Every recommendation made within these discussions is a step closer in order to secure that the rights of migrant workers are being respected and will be geared towards promoting sustainable economic growth.

Migrant workers and migration in general yields gains not only for the country of origin but also for the destination state. Persistent research regarding such particular matter consistently provides results that show how the income of migrant workers can be a source of vital private capital for the destination state and most importantly, can improve the developmental capabilities in their countries of origin through ways such as remittances. In 2015 alone, official records show that migrants sent an approximate of $US 601 billion in form of remittances to their countries of origin. Moreover, this number may even be less than that of what is actually circulating in the global economy for remittances if non-official channels of remittances flows are to be considered.

With this enormous contribution that migrants carry on their shoulders, the United Nations, through ECOSOC, stands as the safeguard in the international community ensuring that migrants experience and enjoy the fulfillment of their human rights no matter where they are in the world. More specifically, ECOSOC delves in factors such as discrimination in wages, poor working conditions, lack of access to social protection and abusive recruitment and the likes, as basis to continuously improve the agreements between states, both bilaterally and multilaterally, regarding matters of migrants and migrant workers.

 

CONCLUSION

With over 150 million migrant workers that we have today, it is evident that the population trend of migrant workers is continuously increasing all over the world, however, it is still an imminent problem that only a few percentage of these people are treated with decent rights and protection. The role of the international community is to cooperate with each other and to safeguard the rights of these workers in addressing the rampant issues of discrimination, exploitation, human trafficking, and other illegal practices in order to make a safer and healthy working environment.

Before the delegates are able to apply further research, it is important to understand that although “workers’ rights” and “sustainable economic growth” may be considered as separate topics, the relationship between these goals must be realized as one interconnected topic and that protecting workers’ rights is an integral part of promoting sustainable growth. With that, delegates are expected to formulate comprehensive solutions that answer questions such as:

  1. What are the short term and long term solutions that can ensure the safety and productivity of such migrant workers?
  2. To what extent can the role of both governments from the home country and country wherein the workers have been received be cooperative in order to address any cases of maltreatments on migrant workers?

Furthermore, delegates must also identify essential information thus answering questions such as but not limited to:

  1. What is your specific country’s domestic policy on laborers’ legal rights?
  2. does your policy apply to different groups such as women, children, youth, PWDs, IDPs, Migrants, differently? if so, how can you narrow or close the gaps?
  3. What are the major obstacles that State Parties face in creating green and decent jobs?

With the aforementioned questions discussing about the predicaments faced by migrant workers, delegates are expected to provide viable solutions in order to fulfill the gap that hinders migrant workers to fully utilize their potentials and capabilities.

 

 

References

United Nations (n.d.). The Resource : Part V. Persons with disabilities and multiple discrimination – Rights of special groups, 10/10. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/comp509.htm

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (n.d.). Committee on Migrant Workers. Retrieved from http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CMW/Pages/CMWIndex.aspx

International Labor Organization (n.d.). Retrieved from http://ilo.org/global/standards/subjects-covered-by-international-labour-standards/migrant-workers/lang–en/index.htm

International Labor Organization (2010, June 10). Tripartite Action to Protect Migrant Workers within and from the Greater Mekong Subregion from Labour Exploitation (GMS TRIANGLE project). Retrieved from http://www.ilo.org/asia/whatwedo/projects/WCMS_304802/lang–en/index.htm

 

Burrow, S. (2015, June 10). Top 10 Worst Countries for Workers’ Rights: The Ranking No Country Should Want. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sharan-burrow/top-ten-worst-countries-f_b_7553364.html

International Organization for Migration ( 2015, December 11). Migrant Workers Suffer Exploitation, Abuse in Middle East, North Africa: Report. Retrieved from http://www.iom.int/news/migrant-workers-suffer-exploitation-abuse-middle-east-north-africa-report

International Labor Organization (2015). Public Reports 2015. Retrieved from: http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—dgreports/—dcomm/documents/publication/wcms_524995.pdf

Asia Pacific Forum for National Human Rights institution (2012). Retrieved from: http://nhri.ohchr.org/EN/IHRS/Documents/APF%20publication%20-%20promoting%20and%20protecting%20the%20rights%20of%20migrant%20workers.pdf

 

 

INTRODUCTION

It is highlighted in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that it is the critical role of local communities to pursue their involvement in the planning and management of sustainability both in development and as a lifestyle. It is also emphasized in the goals of this agenda that a productive output may be achieved if inclusion is ensured and also without setting aside the economic, social, and environmental aspects of development. In line with this, it is essential to keep in mind that community-based education (CBE) is key to an active citizenship. When integrating community-based education in local communities, it is important to understand that there are various sectors that it could encompass ranging from basic education to technical and vocational programmes. In addition, CBE revives traditional wisdom or way of learning while also integrating new knowledge and skills gathered from both conventional and unconventional practices. CBE as a platform in achieving development is of course not as easy as we portray it and there may be challenges but it is an approach that could lead to transformative outcomes.

Access to basic needs and opportunities has been a prevalent issue in rural areas. Consequently, development in rural areas is undermined resulting to the lack of public maintenance, employment, recreation, and most importantly the education facilities available in urban communities. According to UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) an estimated total of 263 million are children deprived of education and are out of school youth. Furthermore, statistics from the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) concludes that the 263 million total can be divided into three sectors wherein 61 million are aged 6-11 years old and are currently in primary school, 60 million children aged 12-14 years are from lower batch of secondary school, and an estimated 142 million that are aged 15-17 are from upper secondary school. With these in mind, it is evident that there are innumerable considerations as to why rural areas are quite far from where development is taking place.

One factor that hinders development is the issue on transportation, wherein most of the time the population that has low income finds it difficult to access public transportation given the fact that these people does not acquire their own vehicles. Due to this, it is at some point impossible to reach workplaces, stores, schools, and other venues. Most of the basic necessities that are considered vital in today’s economy such as education are not made accessible to people in rural areas and which results to the challenge of fulfilling the growth of a community specifically relating to its economic development. Furthermore, the lack of access to education especially in the youth hinders productivity and increases the use of damaging substances that promulgate the cycle of poverty.

Rural development transcends beyond the the concept of advancing the level of per capita income of a community or sector, rather it also encompasses the standard of living of people within thus, aspects such as a person’s basic needs, security, health, and education would be summed up to be the definition of where the standard of living depends on. In addition, one important factor that can drive rural development is through education, however, there are push factors that affect the education in rural areas. One of the primary causes that further limit the access of rural households to educational facilities include the lack of efficient and available transportation systems that can link these households to the services and facilities they need.

While these stated factors are some of the common reasons as to why development is hindered, exploring other facets is also important especially in cases of countries involved in war, civil strife, or internal conflict. In connection, UNESCO and UNICEF identified any forms of strife or conflict, especially armed, as a prime motivation which impedes education. Around the world, there are over 63 million children and students are out-of-school, all of which resides in areas that are affected or torn by war and conflict. This can be best exemplified with the situation in Syria and Iraq. According to the United Nations International Fund for Children (UNICEF), as conflict enters its fifth year in Syria, there are over 400,000 additional children who are at risk of dropping out of school due to conflict. In one UN report, it is proved that violence constitutes education as another casualty in some countries wherein immediate aid such as food and shelter must be of utmost priority. However, education must also be viewed with urgency as a tool to stabilize war-torn places.

 

DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS                                                  

Unity may be considered as an ultimate goal in all humanity. In a community, cohesiveness is also an aim and in order to achieve this, local communities must ought to further boost their schools and also elevate the standard of education. Through this, students are geared to become productive residents. In line to this, addressing development through education which leads to interdependence can provide an optimum effect to students and people on a global scale.

Furthermore,one of the goals of CBE is to encourage students to be active contributors in their society as well as to enhance their ability to recognize the needs of the community that they belong in and be able to foster a productive role and contribution. Through this, students are made aware that the responsibility brought upon them must be rooted from their own values and freedom which leads to address the problems that the a community or sector is currently facing. As reiterated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), community-based education can be a pathway to gear towards economic growth and sustainable development.

There are some Member States in both low income and high-income states that have seen the prospective aspects of CBE and it is only a matter of effective implementation strategy that these programs may be fully implemented and utilized. In addition, community-based education comes in many forms depending on what the country needs or would see deemed as necessary for rural development. Community-based education may fall under agriculture, preparatory learning, entrepreneurship, and the environment.

The universal right to education was clearly established in 2 international instruments known for its global endorsement and these are the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) specifically Article 26 and the Convention on the Rights of a Child (CRC) highlighting Article 28. Thus, access to education must be brought forth in a level that is achievable to all members of the society including the vulnerable factions, PWDs, and indigenous groups.

 

ROLE OF ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL

The Economic and Social Council connects a couple of UN organizations focused on sustainable development, giving general directions and collaborative efforts. Such entities include yet are not limited to regional monetary and social commissions, functional commissions that facilitate intergovernmental dialogues of major global issues and specialized agencies, projects, and funds at work, all of which leads to a goal which is to fulfill responsibilities on development into genuine changes in individuals’ lives.

With regards to the topic “Expanding Corridors for Development in Rural Areas through Community-Based Education,” the role of ECOSOC is to ensure innovative platforms that would regale the issue of putting forward community-based education as a way to achieve rural development.

 

CONCLUSION

As education is seen as one effective tool in order to successfully attain development, delegates must be able to discuss and identify how Member States can collaborate in promoting community-based education and how this approach can provide benefits on a national, regional, and international scope.

Furthermore, delegates must be able to determine the capability of each state in pursuing this initiative and how global cooperation can be an avenue to pursue CBE programs. In addition, delegates must also address questions such as, but not limited to:

  1. In what way can CBE be sustainable and progressive if its purpose is long term?
  2. What can the NGOs, private sectors, and the civil society contribute to the success of CBE?
  3. Which rural areas are qualified to be determined as a community who needs CBE?
  4. What are the factors or trends that can affect CBE in rural areas and how it can be addressed?

 

References

United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (2014). Roadmap for Implementing the Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/2liKWQ9.

n.a., (2016, March 25). Social Problems: Continuity and Change. Retrieved from http://open.lib.umn.edu/socialproblems/chapter/14-4-problems-of-rural-life/

United Nations Economic and Social Council. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.un.org/ecosoc/en/about-us

n.a., (2016, February 09). Impact of Education in Rural Development Process. Retrieved from http://articlesng.com/impact-of-education-in-rural-development-process/

Villani, C. J., & Atkins, D. (2011). Community-Based Education. School Community Journal, 10(1). Retrieved from http://www.adi.org/journal/ss01/chapters/Chapter11-Villani&Atkins.pdf

United Nations Economic and Social Council (n.d.). Resolutions and Decisions. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/newfunct/amrmandate.shtml

United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (2014). Education for All.  Retrieved from http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/leading-the-international-agenda/education-for-all/single-view/news/263_million_children_and_youth_are_out_of_school_from_primar/